Tegucigalpa, the capital, was our first stop in Honduras. We were only here for two days because we were starting to run out of time and needed to get to Mexico by 15 December. Two days in the capital was enough though. Not the most exciting city, however, we always try and make the most of any of the stops that we make and saw the main sights, the main square, cathedral and a few streets within the city centre. We also enjoyed two great meals at the local market, very, very, very cheap and delicious. One of the afternoons in the capital, we took a local chicken bus to the cute town of Santa Lucia and enjoyed a walk around, seeing the local church, a panoramic view of Tegucigalpa and having some great tea at a quaint tea house. There was not much else to be done in this city as everything shuts at 8pm! We were not even able to get something to eat at 8:30pm! Can you believe in the city center, in the capital there was no where we could go and eat or even order take away! This was the case because the city center is a “no go” zone after dark – Honduras does have one of the highest homicide rates in the world and if you go slightly looking for trouble you will definitely find it. A rather extraordinary experience after dark as the place literally shuts down and the only safe places to eat and drink are outside the city center, which could only be reached by taxi!
We did have a nice encounter with Sandra Aguilar, another couchsurfer, who we met in Tegucigalpa. We got in touch with her and we were able to meet up for a drink and a bite to eat. We shared a lovely evening with her and her friends at a local weekly community gathering. Lovely to have met you Sandra and good luck with your charity work and travels. Shout us any time you are in Europe or Australia!
We had a two hour bus journey from the capital to Comayagua, our next stop, short but worthwhile because Comayagua was the former capital of Honduras. We arrived in Comayagua and immediately found a place to bunk as we were only here for the one day / night. We found a cheap and cheerful room, got ourselves set up and then went and toured this small and quaint town. There was not that much to see apart from the main plaza, cathedral, market and some nice old colonial streets. Some of the local architecture is interesting and we agreed that it was worth the stop, but not more than a day or two maximum. Next stop, Lago de Yojoa!
Lago de Yojoa
Another short bus ride to Lago de Yojoa - I sure liked these shorter bus journeys! The distances are so much shorter in Central America compared to South America, 2 to 4 hours is a piece of cake compared to the over night 24 hour plus journeys we had done previously in countries like Brazil and Argentina! Thanks to the Lonely Planet, as there was no CouchSurfing in Lago de Yojoa, we found a really cute brewery to stay at called "D&D Brewery" – how aptly named. Not only was it a gorgeous lush setting they obviously brewed beer which Dean was able to enjoy – it was a hostel / micro brewery set up by a young guy from Portland, Oregon. They had great food as well, so we enjoyed some fun time chilling out in the garden area, met some other lovely travelers and enjoyed several nice meals.
On our second day we spent quite some time walking around part of the Lago de Yojoa, which is set inside a lush and tropical rainforest environment. We were able to see many different types of flora and fauna, including some magnificent trees and birds! Visiting the lake is on of the main highlights and reasons to come to this area. The other main highlight in the area is the famous archeological site situated on the banks of the lake. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to walk around the site and it is something we thoroughly enjoyed, although we probably should have arrived a little earlier because we started to lose the daylight as you can see in some of our pictures!
Fantastic stop and we probably would have stayed for another day or two if we had enough time!
Roatan Island (Bay Islands)
One of our only eight flights in all of Latin America was to the Bay Islands. There was no other way to get there so a flight was necessary. The Bay Islands is home to the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea and the second largest barrier reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We had come here as we were told it was well worth the stop, the best stop to make in all of Honduras, to get some sun and beach time and visit the barrier reef.
Well we did not have much luck as the weather was horrible most of the time we were here! It rained all but 2 days that we were there and Dean ended up getting an ear and throat infection, so diving and snorkeling was no longer on the cards! However, we had time to recharge our batteries for the last month of our trip. We slept, read and cooked in a really nice apartment we rented for one week – it had fantastic views of the sea and the reef. It was just a great shame we were not able to take advantage of being on such a gorgeous island with the second largest barrier reef. At least we now know about this great paradise and can return one day to do our PADI diving certificate - it was just not meant to be this time around!
We did make the most of the hours and days it did not rain. We walked around the local village area in West End and also spent some time on the beach around the bay. It was quite funny, because one of the days we were on Roatan we had arranged to meet up with Avi from Toronto, Canada, another couch surfer who happened to be living on the island. So, during the day of the evening we were due to catch up with Avi, we were walking along the beach and someone called out "Mrs Morrison". I was in shock and wondering whom the heck was calling out “Mrs Morrison”. Well to cut a long story short, it was Avi - he was working at the resort we happened to be walking past! Funny stuff! Avi, who works at the best resort in Roatan, was so kind and gave us passes to use the facilities at the resort…these generally go for around USD 20 per person to the public! How great is CouchSurfing! So we were able to meet Avi that afternoon as well as that evening. Before meeting Avi, we enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving turkey meal, as the local community was very American dominated. It was fun and also Dean’s first ever Thanksgiving meal! Later on we met up with Avi at one of the many bars in West End and after the bar shut we went back to Avi’s for some more drinks with him, his girlfriend and their friends. Great meeting you Avi, hope life on the island is treating you well and you are still enjoying your very stressful job!
We will definitely have to go back to the Bay Islands (Roatan specifically) in the coming years. What a place nestled in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras. It was one of two highlights in all of Honduras.
We caught the flight back to San Pedro Sula from the Bay Islands and then we were off to our next destination, La Entrada, which is near Copan Ruinas.
Copan Ruinas (and La Entrada)
We based ourselves in La Entrada, which is about an hour away from the ruins as we were couch surfing with Johel Ramirez and his family. We arrived in La Entrada and were greeted by Johel’s mother and two of his sisters. What a lovely family! We had spent most of the day travelling from the Bay Islands, initially by plane to San Pedro Sula and then later by bus to La Entrada. After exchanging pleasantries and getting to know our new CouchSurfing hosts we decided that we needed some air. We left the house and walked around the local area for a few hours and tried to get a general feel for our new location. As our CouchSurfing hosts had pointed out there was not much to see or do in this town. They told us that it is actually a major stopping point for drug trafficking so there is not much going on at all, apart from some notable underworld activity. Not only that, but there are no bars, restaurants or clubs in the town because there is a major gun culture and any time one of these establishments opens, something bad happens like a shooting and then they close down! Seriously!
The next morning we took a bus from La Entrada to visit the famous Copan Ruinas. The bus ride was just under two hours, but this was completely worth it because the ruins are something special! We enjoyed a walk through the town as well as a nice lunch in a cute garden setting before we set off to visit the ruins. These pre Colombian Mayan ruins, a UNESCO heritage site, include a very detailed informative museum in addition to the actual spectacular ruins! The Mayans are a special and interesting race of people existing some time before the arrival of the Spanish. The ruins are of all sizes and shapes and include a famously spectacular hieroglyphic staircase. Check out our pictures to fully appreciate how gorgeous these ruins are! The ruins gave us a great introduction and flavor for what we were to later experience at Tikal in Guatemala – the absolute pinnacle of Mayan life!
We had a lovely day visiting the ruins and then another pleasant evening staying with our host family. What a generous family, sharing their life stories with us, as well as meals and teaching us how to make tortillas and bread using a wood oven. Check out our photos and the video (under the video section) of us baking with the family. Thanks Johel and family / friends for being so hospitable and generous. We loved meeting you all and hope the couch surfing guestbook is getting used lots!
So that was it for Honduras...I would have to say that if you are pressed for time in Central America, other than the Bay Islands and Copan Ruinas, Honduras is not the most appealing or safest of places to visit.
Next stop El Salvador where you will be hearing from Dingo.